Friday, July 19, 2013

Department of Homeland Security Uses Twitter for Monitoring Citizens


Department of Homeland Security Uses Twitter for Monitoring Citizens


By Emily Stanton

July 18, 2013


The Department of Homeland Security uses this Twitter account to monitor

issues of national security, newly-released documents reveal.


On the heels of revelations about National Security Agency spying, it turns

out the Department of Homeland Security has its own way of keeping tabs on

the American public via social media.


New documents show DHS's National Operation Center has been using Twitter to

monitor the public and 337 accounts of interest.


No tweets have been posted from the account, @DHSNOCMMC1, and it does not

appear to accept follow requests. The Twitter accounts DHS follows remained

private until Freedom of Information Act documents revealing the accounts

were posted by government transparency group MuckRock Wednesday.


Among the accounts it follows are a mix of news organizations, police and

fire departments, emergency management agencies and utility companies. The

only individuals followed are District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray and

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.


In 2012, the Daily Mail revealed a list of keywords being tracked by the DHS

on social media, including "Mexico," "nuclear," "flu," and "pork." Twitter

applications TweetDeck and TweetGrid were used to monitor tweets according

to the MuckRock documents. Over a six-month period the National Operations

Center generated more than 9,300 "item-of-interest" reports from its social

media monitoring program, according to California Watch.


"The Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center employs

social media monitoring for situational awareness purposes only, within the

clearly defined parameters articulated in our Privacy Impact Assessment, to

ensure that critical information reaches appropriate decision-makers," said

DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard in a statement emailed to Whispers.



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